BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING
                              Senator Jim Beall, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          AB 2682           Hearing Date:     6/14/2016
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Author:   |Chang                                                 |
          |----------+------------------------------------------------------|
          |Version:  |5/18/2016    Amended                                  |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Urgency:  |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Consultant|Erin Riches                                           |
          |:         |                                                      |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          

          SUBJECT:  Autonomous vehicles


            DIGEST:  This bill requires the state Department of Motor  
          Vehicles (DMV) to hold public hearings on the National Highway  
          Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) model policy on  
          autonomous vehicles (AVs) and to consider conforming DMV  
          regulations and policies to NHTSA policy.

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing state law (SB 1298, Padilla, Chapter 570, Statutes of  
          2012):

          1)Allows an AV to be operated on public roads for testing  
            purposes by a driver who holds the appropriate license and who  
            is an employee, contractor, or other individual designated by  
            the AV manufacturer.  The driver must be seated in the  
            driver's seat and must be capable of taking over the AV in the  
            event of an autonomous technology failure or other emergency.   


          2)Prohibits an AV from being operated on public roads until the  
            manufacturer's application is approved by the DMV.  Requires  
            the application to include certain certifications, such as a  
            mechanism to engage and disengage the technology that is  
            easily accessible to the operator.

          3)Requires the DMV, by January 1, 2015, to adopt regulations  
            setting forth requirements for proof of insurance and approval  







          AB 2682 (Chang)                                    Page 2 of ?
          
          
            of an application to operate an AV.  Requires the regulations  
            to include any testing, equipment, and performance standards  
            DMV deems necessary to ensure the safe operation of AVs on  
            public roads, with or without the presence of a driver.

          4)Requires the DMV to hold public hearings on the adoption of  
            any regulations applicable to the operation of an AV without  
            the presence of a driver inside the vehicle.

          5)Provides that federal regulations promulgated by NHTSA shall  
            supersede state regulations when found to be in conflict.

          Pursuant to SB 1298, DMV conducted two public workshops in 2013  
          related to developing regulations for AV testing.  The draft  
          regulations were released in November 2013 for public comment,  
          and DMV held a public hearing in January 2014.  The final  
          testing regulations went into effect on September 16, 2014.  As  
          of March 2016, DMV has issued AV Testing Permits to 13  
          manufacturers.

          Also pursuant to SB 1298, DMV is developing regulations for  
          post-testing deployment of AVs, e.g., the use of AVs by the  
          public.  In December 2015, DMV released the draft deployment  
          regulations for public review.  Two public workshops were held  
          earlier this year to discuss the draft regulations.  Key aspects  
          of the draft regulations include requirements relating to  
          manufacturer certification and third-party testing; a licensed  
          driver present in the vehicle; a three-year deployment permit;  
          and privacy and cyber security.  

          Existing federal law requires NHTSA to issue Federal Motor  
          Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and regulations to which  
          manufacturers of motor vehicles must conform and certify  
          compliance.  The FMVSS are regulations written in terms of  
          minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles to  
          help protect the public against unreasonable crash risk, injury,  
          and death due to the design, construction, or performance of the  
          vehicle.  The FMVSS do not explicitly address AV technology and  
          often assume the presence of a human driver.  

          In May 2013, NHTSA issued a preliminary policy statement on AVs.  
           The policy encouraged states to regulate AV use in the testing  
          phase, as well as administrative aspects of public deployment  
          such as driver licensing and training.  NHTSA did not at that  
          time recommend that states permit public deployment of  








          AB 2682 (Chang)                                    Page 3 of ?
          
          
          technology; instead, NHTSA would conduct further research on  
          various aspects of AV safety, design, and data security.  

          In January 2016, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)  
          Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled a new, updated AV policy, along  
          with a commitment of nearly $4 billion over the next 10 years to  
          accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle  
          automation.  Secretary Foxx announced that NHTSA will work with  
          states to develop a model policy to help policymakers address  
          issues in both the testing and operational deployment of AVs  
          that offers a nationally consistent approach.  

          This bill requires the DMV to hold public hearings on NHTSA's  
          model policy, once it is developed, and to consider conforming  
          DMV regulations and policies to the model policy.  
          COMMENTS:

          1)Purpose.  The author states that if NHSTA publishes a model  
            policy on AVs, California is not required to adopt it.   
            California may be competing with other states for federal  
            funds related to AVs and should ensure it is well-positioned  
            to do so in the coming months.  California should be ready to  
            evaluate, and if necessary, conform to any new federal AV  
            policies.  The author states that this bill will help ensure  
            that California can compete effectively for any federal funds  
            related to AVs, contribute to a more uniform nationwide  
            policy, and help California remain a technological leader.  

          2)DMV must conform to federal regulations, but federal policy is  
            optional.  Existing state law provides that any federal  
            regulations promulgated by NHTSA shall supersede state  
            regulations where in conflict.  Thus, if NHTSA publishes  
            regulations subsequent to DMV, DMV will have to amend the  
            state regulations to conform to the federal regulations - a  
            process which includes public hearings and public comment.   
            If, however, NHTSA simply publishes a model policy, it will be  
            up to individual states whether or not to adopt it.  

          3)DMV chairs the committee writing the model policy.  The  
            American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA)  
            has formed an Autonomous Vehicle Best Practices Committee,  
            chaired by DMV, to develop a best practices guide to assist  
            states in regulating AVs and driver testing.  This committee,  
            which is funded by and includes representatives of NHTSA, is  
            working with AAMVA jurisdictions, law enforcement, federal  








          AB 2682 (Chang)                                    Page 4 of ?
          
          
            agencies, and other stakeholders as it develops its  
            recommendations.  The committee plans to release a final  
            best-practices document to NHTSA this summer.

          4)Status of DMV's AV regulations.  DMV is currently working on  
            regulations for AV deployment, incorporating feedback it  
            received from the two public workshops earlier this year as  
            well as written comments from stakeholders.  DMV indicates  
            that the proposed regulations will be available for public  
            comment as part of the formal rulemaking process before final  
            regulations are adopted.  DMV indicates that it is working  
            very closely with AAMVA and NHTSA as it develops the  
            regulations and that NHTSA, as well as other states, are  
            looking to California as the leader on this issue.







          Related Legislation:
          
          AB 1592 (Bonilla) - authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation  
          Authority to conduct a pilot project for the testing of  
          autonomous vehicles under specified conditions.  This bill is  
          pending hearing in the Senate Transportation and Housing  
          Committee.

          AB 2866 (Gatto) - requires the DMV to adopt regulations for the  
          testing and operation of autonomous vehicles without a driver in  
          the vehicle and without a brake pedal, accelerator pedal, or  
          steering wheel.  This bill is pending hearing in the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee.

          Assembly Votes:
               Floor:         76-4
               Apppr:         16-4
               Trans:         16-0
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:  Appropriation:  No    Fiscal Com.:  Yes     
          Local:  No


            POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the committee before noon on  








          AB 2682 (Chang)                                    Page 5 of ?
          
          
            Wednesday, June 8, 2016.)
          
            SUPPORT:  

          California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
          Personal Insurance Federation of California 

          OPPOSITION:

          None received

          
          

                                      -- END --